Press Release, Donald Heatherington (Atlantic Press)
September 25th, 2007 - Muzammal Nawaz of Burlington, Canada captured the WAKO Professional Middleweight Championships on Saturday night in front of a packed St. Johns audience. The bout was the highlight in Newfoundland’s first professional kickboxing gala.
The main event bout featured Canadian kickboxing sensation Muzammal Nawaz, facing #5 world ranked (IKF) middleweight contender, Neil ‘The Hammer’ Halstad hailing from Wisconsin, USA. This 10 round bout was for the WAKO Middleweight Championship.
‘WAKO is considered the most prestigious international sanctioning body, so it is an honor to be fighting for one of their titles. I hope to fight the WAKO World Champion, Dominic Hasselback of Germany soon. This bout should be a step in that direction,’ stated Nawaz during the press session before the bout.
The bout started slowly with both fighters choosing to feel each other out. Halstad was ahead on the judges score cards by a narrow margin after the first few rounds. The bout changed dramatically in round four as Nawaz started throwing hard body punches. Nawaz has spent the last year training with top professional boxers which he feels has dramatically improved his boxing skills.
Halstad was still competitive in the middle of the bout landing very clean counter right hands, his most effective tool. In round seven, Nawaz picked up the pace and began dominating both the inside and outside games. He landed a number of crowd pleasing ax kicks &rdash; his trademark kick.
In the ninth round it looked like Halstad was hurt after a receiving a hard head hook, but the durable American continued gallantly. By the beginning of the final round it was clear that Nawaz had taken the bout on points, however was still stalking Halstad looking for a knockout.
The final bell rang and both fighters showed great sportsmanship at the end of the bout. The three ringside judges scored the bout &rdash; 100-90, 97-93, 98-92 &rdash; a unanimous decision for Canadian Muzammal Nawaz. Nawaz record moves to 38-6-2, while Halstad drops to 26-4.
‘I was pleased with the bout. I have had to move up weight in the past few years to make fights happen, but I always fight best at my natural weight of 160lbs. Neil was a great fighter and very tough &rdash; he took some hard shots but keep in the fight. My hat goes off to him,’ said the excited Canadian after the bout.
Event promoter Mike Foley Sr., was pleased with the event. This is only his second kickboxing event, but he has managed to stage two very fine promotions. He was greatly assisted by the Officials from the Canadian Kickboxing Association (CASK). Mr. Vic Provost from Ottawa was the referee and Ms. Amanda Worehlre the Chief Amateur Official.